Our History

Reflecting on the Past, Focused on the Future

Take Stock in Children was founded in the early 1990s to combat a troubling and persistent dropout rate that plagued the public school system in the Tampa Bay. Created by a local education foundation with the backing of concerned community leaders, the initiative sought to give high-potential, low-income students the resources they needed to graduate from high school, go to college, and "set their course of life," says Don Pemberton, Take Stock in Children's founder. "We were looking to be transformative." From the outset, the program was elegantly simple. It recruited participants in middle school, early enough in their lives to make a difference; it provided scholars with adult mentors; and the program carefully monitored students' progress. Take Stock in Children emphasized responsibility and accountability among students, their parents and mentors.

The program was inclusive and intensely local, bringing together not only students and school personnel, but outside volunteers, philanthropists, religious groups, civic organizations, the social-services sector and for-profit businesses. The idea was to "engage all facets of the community," Pemberton says. It succeeded.

In 1995, the program served 500 students, and businesses took notice, recognizing Take Stock's potential as a tool for building a more educated workforce. Among other firms, Florida's largest bank urged the program to expand. Within a year, Take Stock in Children had autonomous affiliate programs - franchises essentially - in every Florida county. The simplicity and flexibility of the program and its emphasis on local control helped it to thrive in diverse environments.

Twenty years later, Take Stock in Children is Florida's premier scholarship and mentorship program and has served hundreds of thousands of low-income, at-risk children in every county in Florida. 

Take Stock In Children Through the Years


Co-Chairman: Charlie Rice

Co-Chairman: Howard Jenkins

Take Stock in Children (TSIC) is established as a non-profit organization in Florida that provides a unique opportunity for deserving, low-income youth, many from minority families, to break the cycle of poverty through education. Our Program kicked off the Pinellas County.


First Scholarship Day, TSIC's first ever campaign, signs up students in 44 counties throughout Florida.


TSIC celebrates its first graduating class of 1999.


Chairman: Pat Moran

Governor Jeb Bush launches a statewide mentoring initiative in Miami. This sets the stage for increased state funding for the organization in future years.


Chairman: Paul Avery

Launch of TSIC Mentor Mobile highlights the importance of mentorship and serves as a mobile mentor recruitment office.


Chairman: Mike Maroone


TSIC celebrates its 10th anniversary with annual Rally in Tally Event.


Chairman: Joe Formusa


TSIC kicks off TurboCharge campaign to grow programs across the state.


Chairman: Richard Berkowitz


TSIC is one of 49 innovative programs nationwide awarded funds from the U.S. Department of Education's Investing Innovation (i3) grant program. TSIC receives $5 million through the program and Helio's Education Foundation provides financial resources, services and support needed to ensure student success through college.


The Alumni Alliance is officially started to connect the network of more than 8,000 TSIC mentors to their efforts to support the organization by connecting alumni on their university or college campuses and sharing alumni stories of success.

Chairman: Don Pemberton


Leaders 4 Life Fellows are recognized at the annual Leadership Summit in Tallahassee. Created in partnership with the Asofsky Foundation, the Fellowship provides financial resources, services and support needed to ensure student success through college.


The third annual Strides for Education event held in 10 programs in Florida that raises nearly $1 million in scholarships and attended by more than 5,000 supporters.

Chairman: Ted Carter


TSIC increases support and services to ensure students are college and career ready.


College enrollment rates and college graduation rates were at an all-time high. College enrollment increased by 9 points and college completion by 8 points.



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